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Gandhi Ashram School, Kalimpong, invites music educators, choral conductors and singers to take a break this February 2019, and gift yourself a one-of-a-kind learning experience up in the Himalayas, in the shadow of the mighty Khangchendzonga. Learn from Manvinder Rattan, a renowned conductor and teacher from the UK, experience a tried and tested Conducting curriculum from Sing For Pleasure and grab a chance to participate at their Summer School for the next level of training.

Kangchenjunga early in the morning viewed from Tiger Hill, Darjeeling | Source: DC Assam [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

About Gandhi Ashram School

Gandhi Ashram School is a Jesuit mission school with a musical twist. It offers non-formal education, free of cost, admitting only the poorest of the poor. Music is at the centre of learning, providing instruction in string instruments and the piano. The Gandhi Ashram School Orchestra has toured nationally and internationally. It was founded by Fr. Edward McGuire, a Canadian Jesuit priest and has become an integral identity of the Hills of North Bengal. This project will help raise funds for the Music Program. More information can be found here.

About Sing For Pleasure

Sing for Pleasure is a charity in the UK that strives for choral excellence, encouraging the enjoyment of better singing in class and choirs through conducting training, singing events and courses, publications and scholarships and bursaries. More information can be found here.

About Manvinder Rattan

Manvinder Rattan is Chief Executive Officer and Head of Conductor Training at Sing for Pleasure.  He oversees all the charity’s activities and leads a team of tutors who teach around 300 conductors a year. The accredited conductor training programme which he steers is a graded scheme that has the capacity to take conductors from their very first downbeat all the way through to advanced work with a substantial choir and orchestra, using its renowned teaching syllabus and supportive, pro-active teaching style. An expert choral and orchestral conductor, Manvinder has been Musical Director of the John Lewis Partnership Music Society since 1995. Having inherited one choir, the society now has over eighteen. It also has an orchestra, rock band, and Music Tuition Service on two sites; they gave over twenty-five performances last year. In addition, he is Musical Director of Serafine Chamber Choir and Sinfonia, with whom he has released the premiere recording of Oliver Tarney’s Magnificat. Freelance engagements also keep him busy, with numerous guest conducting, teaching, singing and adjudicating engagements in the UK and abroad. Manvinder himself trained at Sing For Pleasure with James Wild and also studied choral directing with John Coates, Jill Henderson-Wild, Peter Erdei and Laszlo Heltay. He studied orchestral directing with Colin Metters, John Farrer and Neil Thompson.

What will you learn?

The Foundation Course is for complete beginners and those with limited experience of leading singing and conducting. It is a particularly appropriate course for those wishing to lead singing in the classroom as well as for those working with adults, as it provides the key skills upon which further development can be built.

Course Aims

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • prepare the music and their gesture thoroughly
  • sing the various voice-parts to enable them to be learnt quickly and efficiently
  • maintain a good teaching pace during rehearsal
  • use a range of simple, clear and economical conducting gestures
  • achieve a musical performance, even with the simplest repertoire
  • control the rehearsal whilst making it enjoyable for everyone
  • analyse their own achievements, and the work of others, in a constructive way

Course Delivery

The course is delivered in two ways – technique sessions include practical demonstrations of all the key aspects of conducting and the workshop sessions that follow give participants an enviable amount of podium time to put into practice what they have learnt. This is achieved within a relaxed and supportive learning environment. 


Repertoire at Foundation level always starts with rounds before moving onto simple part songs. It is really important that the repertoire is simple enough not to get in the way of learning the technical aspects our students need to. Very often, repertoire is selected from Sing for Pleasure publications which were written with our conducting students in mind.

For more experienced participants, we can explore the option of also holding the Intermediate Level 1 Course. Course details can be found here.

Contact Information

More information and application details can be found here.

Contact Virgil Vihaan Sequeira, Alumnus of Sing For Pleasure Intermediate 2 Conducting Course 2018 and Music Program Director at the Gandhi Ashram School, Kalimpong on [email protected]m